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And Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come near to me.” So they came near. Then he said: “I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. Genesis 45:4-5God Can Use Your Biggest Mistake

For the believer and the nonbeliever, everything happens for a reason and nothing comes about by coincidence. Even this morning when I had a mini road-rage episode, God used the event to reveal some residual evil in my heart and to perform a little fine-tuning of my soul. It is in these moments I find myself thanking the Lord for answering my prayers (to make known to me my true heart), showing me what an idiot I still am, and for demonstrating His faithfulness and interest in this my sanctification process.

Joseph (a picture of Christ Jesus) is schooling his brothers in this doctrine. The brothers, led by Judah, had previously expressed their readiness to learn by the confession of their sin and as a result Joseph gives them pardon. The essence of Joseph’s actions were later summed-up in these words by Jesus on the cross.

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” Luke 23:34

Do we fully understand the implication of Christ’s words? On this day, everyone within earshot of Jesus; every Jew, every soldier, every sinner heard the same exact message that Joseph told his brothers, “do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves…for God sent me before you to preserve life.” Had they confessed they would have received a gracious pardon. For those with breath still in their lungs, the offer remains.

Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. Acts 3:17-18

For those presently in Christ the good news is that we can stop beating ourselves silly over the mistakes we make. God has foreknowledge of our corrupt manner and has designed a purpose that will bless both Him and us mutually. The progression continues when we acknowledge our wickedness and confess our sin to Jesus. Christ will never give His approval to our sin, but He will turn it around as a Kingdom-building mechanism that brings honor, glory, and praise to Him.

But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more… Romans 5:20b


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So the men took that present and Benjamin, and they took double money in their hand, and arose and went down to Egypt; and they stood before Joseph. When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, “Take these men to my home, and slaughter an animal and make ready; for these men will dine with me at noon.” …Now the men were afraid because they were brought into Joseph’s house; and they said, “It is because of the money, which was returned in our sacks the first time, that we are brought in, so that he may make a case against us and seize us, to take us as slaves with our donkeys.” …But he said, “Peace be with you, do not be afraid. Your God and the God of your father has given you treasure in your sacks; I had your money.” Then he brought Simeon out to them. Genesis 43:15-16, 18, 23A Recap

Joseph’s brothers, still not recognizing him as their brother, are returning to Egypt with Benjamin just as he had commanded them and they are also returning the money Joseph had put back in their sacks after their last journey. Again, the typology (the prophetic parallels between Joseph and Jesus) run throughout this story. While these events truly happened and accurately chronicle the formation of Israel as a nation, they also point vividly to Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior.

“Take these men to my home…”

The Lord is good to all, And His tender mercies are over all His works…for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. Psalm 145:9 & Matthew 5:45b

When Joseph directs his brothers to be brought into his home, it further illustrates how everyone (this side of Heaven) is blessed by God, despite what they may or may not believe. This also speaks to how God continues (and will continue) to bless the Jew even though they have not yet come to recognize the Son as their Messiah.

“Now the men were afraid…”

Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more… Romans 5:20

Joseph brothers were very fearful; although they were not guilty of this particular act (stealing money), they were certainly guilty of other sins. Joseph knew and they knew. And despite their innocence regarding this deed, their consciousness of past deeds ate at them like a cancer—they were on the cusp of reaping that which they had sown. The good news is that they came to Joseph anyway and for that leap-of-faith they would realize the promise spoken of in Romans 5:20.

“Peace be with you, do not be afraid…”

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, ” says the Lord. Isaiah 55:8

At this point we might correctly assert that grace such as this does not make any sense—God’s response is not logical by worldly standards. God would remind us that He is not of this world and He alone is God and He alone is good.

“God of your father has given you treasure…”

The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein…The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine, ’ says the Lord of hosts… Psalm 24:1 & Haggai 2:8

God teaches us that our salvation cannot be purchased. The fact that we occasionally get caught-up in trying to pay for it is an inane mission, especially in light of the fact we are paying with resources that never belonged to us in the first place. Jesus paid the price and even if there were a cost associated with our salvation we could not pay it because we don’t own anything.

The message; the application for every person is this: come to Jesus just as you are, by faith, confessing your sins, and receiving freely that which you never owned or could ever earn—today is the day of your salvation.


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And (Jacob) said, “Indeed I have heard that there is grain in Egypt; go down to that place and buy for us there, that we may live and not die.” So Joseph’s ten brothers went down to buy grain in Egypt…Joseph saw his brothers and recognized them, but he acted as a stranger to them and spoke roughly to them. Then he said to them, “Where do you come from?” Genesis 42:2-4, 7In as much as Joseph is a prophetic picture or ‘type’ of Jesus in these accounts from Genesis, this seven year famine period is a picture of the Tribulation period that is yet to come. While the typology is incredible throughout the story, we will try to maintain a focus on only a few key ideas.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Perhaps the most obvious parallel is that Jacob (aka: Israel) thought he could purchase that which could save him. As an illustration to what Christ Jesus would ultimately do on the cross, we now know that salvation cannot be bought for a price. Jacob and his sons will soon learn this precious lesson. God’s gift is free and is resources are inexhaustible.

A Sightless Israel

The image that is being prophetically portrayed here of Israel is remarkable, so much so we see the evidence of the illustration even today. Just as these brothers could not recognize Joseph as a savior, similarly the nation of Israel by in large cannot see Jesus as such either (and it will take a period of tribulation to restore their sight). While it is true that Israel has brought their blindness upon themselves, it was an obstacle purposely inflicted by God and some surmise that the fact the New Testament was written in Greek (and not Hebrew) is a further witness to that doctrine. Consider these supportive biblical texts:

For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved… For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. Romans 11:25-26, 32

God is Not Through with the Jew

The affliction upon the Jew is not a reaction by God to punish or even abandon them, but rather a purposeful and divine action that will ultimately lead to their salvation in Christ Jesus. We might ask why (or how) Israel brought this upon themselves; what actually occurred?

But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, ’We will not have this man to reign over us.’ Luke 19:14

I suppose that verse from the Gospel of Luke is the best summary—Israel opted not to submit themselves and as a result they were blinded towards Jesus. We know that Jesus will not force His love upon any person or a nation who has rejected Him, for that work is akin to rape. So what will become of Israel? In due time their eyes will begin to see and the Prophet Zechariah describes what that day will look like.

And one will say to him, ’What are these wounds between your arms?’ Then he will answer, ’Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.’ Zechariah 13:6

Israel will stand before Jesus and ask Him, “So, where did you get those wounds, ” and His reply will likely send a shiver down each of their spines, the effect of which will begin to restore their vision. This all may seem harsh, just as Joseph’s words to his brothers were seemingly harsh, but the motivation behind the words will bring restoration. Consider this truth spoken by Jesus in the Gospel of Luke.

Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” Luke 7:47

Jesus declares there is a godly principle that once employed sets off a chain-reaction of gargantuan proportion. As it pertains to the Jew, once their eyes have been opened to the huge extent of their own sin, their love for Him will be incredibly enormous. Jesus will come full-circle to rescue Israel and we will see that pictured in this story of Joseph and his brothers. The good news for us is that we are not blind—the Law has identified us as sinners and it is the road sign that also points us to our salvation found in Christ alone—the veil has been torn in two.

And the second time Joseph was made known to his brothers, and Joseph’s family became known to the Pharaoh. Acts 7:13


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For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that …the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 1 Corinthians 11:23b-25We Are Going Through Genesis

When we started this portion of Genesis that spotlights the life of Joseph, I was quick to point out that he is a prophetic picture or ‘type’ of Jesus the Christ. The reality of that truth can be plainly seen in chapter forty of Genesis as we discover a correlation between those events of Joseph’s day and our contemporary observance of Holy Communion.

Joseph Gets Some Cellmates

It came to pass after these things that the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt offended their lord, the king of Egypt…So he put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, in the prison, the place where Joseph was confined. Genesis 40:1+3

We recall that Joseph (a picture of Jesus) is falsely imprisoned—we know that Joseph was not a sinless man, but the fact that the Bible records none of his sins make the parallels between him and Christ very compelling. Joseph is joined by two men—ultimately one will be saved and the other will be damned.

And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors. Isaiah 53:12b

I believe it is safe to assume that prison life is no picnic; those who would describe it as a living hell have likely have nailed the imagery. I am fascinated by the correlation between Joseph witnessing to his cellmates in this hellhole (one saved and one doomed) and how Jesus during His three days of entombment would also come to visit hell.

Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men.” (Now this, “He ascended”–what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things. Ephesians 4:8-10

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, by whom also He went and preached to the (*demonic) spirits in prison…1 Peter 3:18-19

In these two reports Jesus first visits the faithful; i.e. those who died prior to Christ’s earthly appearance, to enlighten them that His work was finished and that they were now free. Jesus then hops over to the other side of hell to inform the demonical that because His work was finished, they no long held dominion over the body; His faithful on earth. Praise be to God!

The Wine

Then the chief butler told his dream to Joseph…”Behold, in my dream a vine was before me, and in the vine were three branches; it was as though it budded, its blossoms shot forth, and its clusters brought forth ripe grapes. Then Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand; and I took the grapes and pressed them into Pharaoh’s cup, and placed the cup in Pharaoh’s hand.” And Joseph said to him, “This is the interpretation of it…within three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your place… But remember me… Genesis 40:9-14

Christ’s cup of suffering is our cup of salvation and as I read this account I cannot help but remember these words from 1 Corinthians 11:25.

In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

The Bread

When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was good, he said to Joseph, “I also was in my dream, and there were three white baskets on my head. In the uppermost basket were all kinds of baked goods for Pharaoh, and the birds ate them out of the basket on my head.” So Joseph answered and said, “This is the interpretation of it: The three baskets are three days. Within three days Pharaoh will lift off your head from you and hang you on a tree; and the birds will eat your flesh from you.” Genesis 40:16-19

What a bleak contrast; the bakers dream reveals that which must be broken. As we see Joseph sandwiched between these two offenders, we can also envision Jesus suspended upon the cross between two thieves. In both these accounts one will be rescued and one shall be doomed.

And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” Luke 22:19

The reason behind why the butler and baker are treated so differently is not known, although there is at least one application we can make for our individual spiritual walks. Grapes are essentially created by God—a work of the Spirit (so to speak), while bread is a work of the flesh. Wine is poured out when it is consumed and bread is broken before it is eaten. In Christ’s crucifixion we see a breaking of the flesh; i.e. His body that bore all of mankind’s sin and a pouring-out of His blood—for life is in the blood.

But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 1 Cor 11:28-29


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Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. And Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him down there. The LORD was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD made all he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority. So it was, from the time that he had made him overseer of his house and all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the LORD was on all that he had in the house and in the field. Genesis 39:1-5

W. J. W. D.

What do I do when I find myself in an adverse situation—do I lament, “This isn’t fair, ” or proclaim, “why has this happened to me?” Do I arrogantly declare, “My talent is being wasted, ” or do I swear vengeance against those who have wronged me? And what would I do if I were in Joseph’s sandals? If anyone had the right to gripe, Joseph certainly did, but instead chooses a superior course to follow and in so doing expresses what Jesus would do.

Christian Prosperity

A whole lot of churches are getting the wrong message about prosperity. If the Lord elects to bless a person with worldly wealth, so be it, but in so doing God is not declaring that this is what (godly) prosperity is or that we are all somehow entitled to it (wealth). Prosperity is characterized not by that we possess, but by an attitude we express. In Joseph we see a man who is blessed by what he has been given and not grieved over that which he does not have, demonstrating that in the pursuit of God’s righteous there is satisfaction.

Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 1 Timothy 6:6

A Blessing to Others

I like that the Bible records that as a result of Joseph’s behavior and attitude, that the Lord blessed Potiphar’s house as well. My mind immediately goes to the work-place—can my boss say of me, “This is the best employee I have ever had—whatever he does is a blessing to me, ” or do I let my feelings get in the way of my performance? Wherever I find myself, are those around me somehow blessed because of my obedience to God? In emulating Joseph we imitate Christ Jesus—let our focus be on His promise and His provision for His honor, glory, and praise.

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God…If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Corinthians 10:31 & 1 Peter 4:11


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And the lad was with the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives; and Joseph brought a bad report of them to his father. Genesis 37:2Not a Coincidence

The accounts of Joseph, the son of Israel (Jacob) begins here in chapter thirty seven of Genesis and continues on for thirteen more chapters—over twenty five percent of the book is focused on him. We might ask ourselves why considering God used only five words to explain His creation of the universe in chapter one. The reason is a basic one: Joseph is a picture of Jesus Christ. Don’t make a mistake here; Joseph is not Jesus, but rather a ‘type’ of Jesus—his character and his deeds prophetically picture those of our Lord and Savior.

As we go through the chapter I will highlight the New Testament references which illustrate the relationship (and which you can compare to the Genesis passages). To those who might suggest that these similarities are mere coincidences, I say to them that God’s purpose for the entire Scriptures is to point everyone who reads to His Son Jesus in one way or another. Essentially, Jesus can be found in every sentence of the Bible.
Let’s Begin!Joseph was a sinner, but not one of his sins are recorded in the Bible and that is where we can begin coloring in this picture, for we know Jesus was without sin. Starting with the opening verse, “Joseph brought a bad report of them to his father, ” some might ask is Joseph being a tattle-tale. Remembering that Joseph is a ‘picture’ of Jesus, I would say this passage points out how this son is always about his father’s business.

And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” Luke 2:49

It also demonstrates how Joseph feared the father and disregarded any fear of his brothers— similarly Jesus is submitted to His Father.

The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe. Proverbs 29:25

Back to Genesis

Read these passages from Genesis and compare the New Testament references to Jesus…

Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age. Also he made him a tunic of many colors. But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peaceably to him. Genesis 37:3-4

He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. John 1:11

Now Joseph had a dream, and he told it to his brothers; and they hated him even more. So he said to them, “Please hear this dream which I have dreamed: There we were, binding sheaves in the field. Then behold, my sheaf arose and also stood upright; and indeed your sheaves stood all around and bowed down to my sheaf.”…Then he dreamed still another dream and told it to his brothers, and said, “Look, I have dreamed another dream. And this time, the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars bowed down to me.” Genesis 37:5-7, 9

For it is written: “As I live, says the Lord, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.” Romans 14:11

For it is written: “As I live, says the Lord, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.” Romans 14:11

Then his brothers went to feed their father’s flock in Shechem. And Israel said to Joseph, “Are not your brothers feeding the flock in Shechem? Come, I will send you to them.” So he said to him, “Here I am.” Genesis 37:12-13

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:16-17

Then he said to him, “Please go and see if it is well with your brothers and well with the flocks, and bring back word to me.” So he sent him out of the Valley of Hebron, and he went to Shechem. Genesis 37:14 (*Hebron means fellowship; Joseph has been sent ‘out’ of fellowship)

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Matthew 27:46

(*Israel–a picture of the Father, must have figured that Joseph would have been well received and respected by his other sons, assuming that they knew the authority he had given him. It reminds me of this parable from Jesus.)

“There was a certain landowner who planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a winepress in it and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country. Now when vintage-time drew near, he sent his servants to the vinedressers, that they might receive its fruit. And the vinedressers took his servants, beat one, killed one, and stoned another. Again he sent other servants, more than the first, and they did likewise to them. Then last of all he sent his son to them, saying, ’They will respect my son.’ But when the vinedressers saw the son, they said among themselves, ’This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.’ Matthew 21:33-38

Now a certain man found him, and there he was, wandering in the field. And the man asked him, saying, “What are you seeking?” So he said, “I am seeking my brothers. Please tell me where they are feeding their flocks.” Genesis 37:15-16

For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. Luke 19:10

Now when they saw him afar off, even before he came near them, they conspired against him to kill him…But Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands, and said, “Let us not kill him.” And Reuben said to them, “Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit which is in the wilderness, and do not lay a hand on him”–that he might deliver him out of their hands, and bring him back to his father. Genesis 37:18, 21-22 (*We can picture  Reuben as a type of wavering Pontius Pilate).

So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him. And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe. Then they said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck Him with their hands. Pilate then went out again, and said to them, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no fault in Him.” John 19:1-4

So it came to pass, when Joseph had come to his brothers, that they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the tunic of many colors that was on him. Then they took him and cast him into a pit. And the pit was empty; there was no water in it. Genesis 37:23-24

And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. Matthew 27:28

Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a tomb that was hewn out of the rock, where no one had ever lain before. Luke 23:53

Then Reuben returned to the pit, and indeed Joseph was not in the pit; and he tore his clothes. And he returned to his brothers and said, “The lad is no more; and I, where shall I go?” Genesis 37:29-30

But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb.  Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. Luke 24:2-3

So they took Joseph’s tunic, killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the tunic in the blood. 32 Then they sent the tunic of many colors, and they brought it to their father and said, “We have found this. Do you know whether it is your son’s tunic or not?” Genesis 37:31 (*Reminds me of these guys who lied about the empty tomb)

Now while they were going, behold, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened.  When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, 13 saying, “Tell them, ’His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.’ Matthew 28:11-13

The truth of the matter is that we have just scratched the surface (I likely deleted as many if not more Bible verses than I used for this blog. As an application for us, it really all comes down to one thing. Since every in the Bible purposely points to Jesus Christ (and since we have been made in His image), it is our purpose to point everyone to Him as well. Let every word and every action be a picture of Jesus Christ.


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